LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - I've never been so ready for baseball season, the Masters and the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. I'm simply tired of this ugly college basketball season and I'm sick of the hypocritical NCAA. If I hear the term "student-athlete" one more time, I will not be responsible for my actions.
I freely admit that part of my disenchantment is what happened to the University of Louisville men's team. On the morning of Feb. 4, the players woke up thinking they were going to make a run for the Final Four. That night they went to bed angry and confused about the university's decision to ban them from the tournament because of the Katina Powell sex scandal.
I don't care what the university uncovered, I don’t think it was fair to punish this team, which had nothing to do with Andre McGee or prostitutes or any of the other sordid allegations Powell made in her pitiful excuse of a book.
NCAA President Mark Emmett seems to agree. At his press conference last week in Houston, he was asked about Syracuse playing in the Final Four only a year after it had missed the post-season due to self-imposed sanctions.
"We’ve got a team that’s playing right now that, again, had nothing to do with those sanctions, and they should be allowed to play," he said. "That’s what the judgment of the membership was. I support it."
But UofL insiders insist the NCAA forced President Dr. James Ramsey to self-impose the ban in order to lighten the inevitable sanctions that will be levied whenever the NCAA investigation is completed.
Obviously, somebody is lying and I'm sick of lying. I'm sick of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski sanctimoniously chastising an Oregon player immediately after the Ducks had defeated his team, and then bald-faced lying about it to the media.
I'm sick of Jim Boeheim's dour expression and convoluted logic. When asked about the Syracuse sanctions, he tried to make a distinction between cheating and rules breaking. I am not making this up. What a jerk. Next to Boeheim, Sarah Palin looks like a genius.
I'm sick of Kentucky's men, Louisville's women and Bellarmine's men all being eliminated earlier than they should have been. About the only thing we have to celebrate in Kentucky this spring is Georgetown College’s runner-up finish in the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City. March Madness? How about March Sadness.
I'm sick of the NCAA demanding that all its press conference moderators refer to the players as "student-athletes." I guess they think that will give the public the impression that they really care about academics. What a joke. If they cared about academics, tournament games wouldn’t be starting at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights.
I'm sick of brackets. Don’t show me another bracket until next March. I don’t want to hear the name Joe Lunardi. This has been the tournament from hell so far as predictions go.
Oh, sure, it has produced some remarkable upsets, as usual, but it also has produced some tank jobs of historic proportions. How about Michigan State losing in the first round? Oklahoma getting beaten by 44 – FORTY-FOUR – and Syracuse by 26 in Saturday's Final Four. The crowd came expecting to see classic basketball, and, instead, got a pair of UConn women's games.
I'm sick of John Calipari blowing off UK's second-round loss to Indiana by immediately talking about how he's bringing in another all-world freshman team of one-and-done student-athletes. I also don't see why he announced that his entire team, including walk-ons, was going to enter the NBA combines, or whatever you call them. Does he really need attention that badly?
I'm sick of the Southeastern Conference being so bad. This year it got only three teams in the field, and one of them, Vanderbilt, was assigned to a play-in game, which it didn’t win. The SEC is every bit as terrible in hoops as it is glorious in football.
I've had it with all the TV announcers, even Charles Barkley, who usually makes me laugh. For the most part, they do little more than state the obvious. I can't think of one who adds the kind of insight that Billy Packer did for CBS back in the day. The worst of all is Clark Kellogg. He adds zero, zilch nothing to any conversation.
I'm sick of seeing coaches preen and posture on the sidelines. I guess they must be thinking that their fans deserve a show for all that money. Basketball has become the most over-coached and over-analyzed sport of all. In tandem, the coaches and analysts just drain the life out of it.
Sometime soon, the NCAA will announce its charges against North Carolina, home to one of the biggest cases of academic fraud in sports history. It involves athletes in several sports, not just basketball. Whatever comes down, it’s pathetic that this case has been investigated for five years.
I hope the UofL case doesn’t drag on nearly that long. I wish I could say that I believe justice will be served and the NCAA does the right thing. But I have absolutely no confidence that will be the case. If the NCAA cared about doing the right thing, it would have rejected Ramsey’s ban so this season's team could have played in the postseason.
So goodbye and good riddance to the NCAA and its basketball season from hell. I hope we never see its likes again.
Billy Reed is a longtime sportswriter who contributes regular columns to WAVE3.com.
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